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Discuss water requirements, "soil" (growing media) and suitable planting containers

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By Intheswamp
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#412272
DragonsEye wrote: Thu May 26, 2022 10:59 pm For me, part of the issue harvesting rainwater is whether it comes from the right direction. Being an apt dweller, unless the rain comes from the SE, I'm pretty much out of luck. (and it usually comes from the west.)
I don't know what type of apartment complex you live in, or whether you know the neighbors, but I wonder if you could work out something with a neighbor on the west side so that when it rained you could collect rainwater there. Shoot, maybe scout around and find a building somewhere with an exposed gutter drain and stick a 5-gallon bucket there during a rainy day. I'd definitely want to use a TDS meter, but a covert Seal Team Six operation might produce some rainwater for you. :mrgreen:
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By Apollyon
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#412288
Definitely second the water extension for those who can do it. In my case, the water is a half step from poison reading about 450ppm with god knows what else :lol: My sundews got splashed by it for a couple days and immediately started dying back. Rain barrels give me an average of 15ppm with the runoff but the pots are usually cleansed by the rain itself so it works out. I'm about to sacrifice a goat or something soon though.
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By Intheswamp
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#412290
If you do the goat, get a couple of gallons of BBQ sauce, dress it well, soak it in ice water, put it on a spit over some good coals, and call me when it's done! ;)
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By Intheswamp
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#412291
Back to the goat, I mean water....

If I checked our local creek water and found the TDS to be relatively low compared to my tap water are there other "baddies" that I would need to concerned about? The creek water would be used as a possible lower-TDS water to mix with the rainwater.
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By ChefDean
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#412294
Its possible, but with "wild" water you need to be aware of pathogens, molds, fungi, critters, as well as fertilizer runoff. You could boil it to kill any baddies, but that won't do anything for chemical contamination.
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By Intheswamp
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Joined:  Wed May 04, 2022 2:28 pm
#412295
The baddies and chemicals is what I was worried about. I'll stick with rainwater as long as it holds out. Thankfully, at the moment, I don't have a lot of plants to water and what water I've got stored will last a good while. Tomorrow I hope to find some more containers to store the water I caught up today. I think I'm spiraling.... :lol:
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By MikeB
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#412297
Intheswamp wrote: Thu May 26, 2022 6:45 pm Currently I've got two kiddie pools full, a couple of flower pots full, and a Igloo cooler full. I've only a couple of gallon jugs left that I can fill. I'll be scrounging for some more containers over the next day or so...
A couple ideas that I used when my plant collection was fairly small:

The gallon jugs from apple juice and tea make excellent rainwater storage containers:
Apple juice jug.jpg
Apple juice jug.jpg (28.94 KiB) Viewed 343 times
Sweet tea jug.jpg
Sweet tea jug.jpg (31.03 KiB) Viewed 343 times
They're compact and much more sturdy than milk jugs or distilled water jugs.

5-gallon buckets from Home Depot, Lowe's, Walmart, etc. are also great for storing water. Most places make you pay extra for the lid (you'll need that to keep the mosquitoes from turning it into a breeding pond). These buckets are stackable, within reason (5 gallons of water weighs almost 42 pounds).
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By Intheswamp
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#412304
We go through lots of milk jugs but not much apple juice or tea jugs so milk jugs it is. :) I definitely agree, though, that juice jugs are a lot more durable than milk jugs. Most of the jugged tea around here is "Milo's" and it comes in a milk-type of jug...but the jug is a tad heavier duty than a regular milk jugs. Even the milk jugs have varying degrees of "quality", though. They certainly don't age into the years, that's for sure. The buckets I like. I've got two buckets w/lids filled for now. Yep, don't want a mosquito resort...my wife would might pull a Bobbit on me!!! I've got a plastic barrel that as best I recall had some type of citric acid in it...came from a soda bottling company. I'm just not sure whether I'm comfortable using it, though. That would give me 50-55 gallons of storage and would be probably all I'll ever need. Of course, with a barrel comes the need for somehow to get the water out (and in). I'm probably gonna stick with the 5-gallon buckets. A couple more would put me at 20 gallons in buckets. The ones I have are actually tall buckets and hold around 6.5 gallons...so even better. ;)
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By specialkayme
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#412326
TrapsAndDews wrote: Thu May 26, 2022 4:54 pm @ChefDean, it seams that every time I check the weather you guys in the south east are being covered in rain.
You could say that. Last fall I got two 55 gallon rain barrels, both attached to the west side of my roof's gutters (east side doesn't collect anything). In total, about 700 square feet of roof is collecting rain into 110 gallons worth of barrels. I hooked up the barrels to the gutters in February, thinking it would take at least a month to get them filled. A weekend later and both barrels were filled. I've used water from them liberally since then, watering CPs and garden plants at will. They continue to fill up and overfill. I drained them a few times since then, and they've filled up again in a few days.

I thought 110 gallon rain barrels wouldn't be enough. I probably should have done the math in advance though. If we average 45 inches a year (https://external-preview.redd.it/PnUwaY ... bba8ae158d), on 700 square feet of roof I'm collecting 18,900 gallons a year, or 363 gallons a week on average. Or put another way, 1/4" of rain will fill the barrels.

Wish I could share . . .
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By ChefDean
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#412340
Supercazzola wrote: Fri May 27, 2022 11:05 amThese are what my water company says… so what’s considered low ?
Looking at yours, that's not bad, except for the sodium, that's pretty high. Mine, for comparison, is just over 6 ppm. My copper is higher, but that, along with the other heavy metals, are still in the ppb range, but my nitrates (nitrogen) is lower. However, I couldn't find calcium this year, but it was in the low ppm if I remember correctly.
With the higher sodium, it might be a no go. But you can always experiment with a typical Flytrap and see how it responds. Sounds harsh, but if it dies, you're only out a typical.
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By TrapsAndDews
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#412344
specialkayme wrote: Fri May 27, 2022 2:39 pm
TrapsAndDews wrote: Thu May 26, 2022 4:54 pm @ChefDean, it seams that every time I check the weather you guys in the south east are being covered in rain.
You could say that. Last fall I got two 55 gallon rain barrels, both attached to the west side of my roof's gutters (east side doesn't collect anything). In total, about 700 square feet of roof is collecting rain into 110 gallons worth of barrels. I hooked up the barrels to the gutters in February, thinking it would take at least a month to get them filled. A weekend later and both barrels were filled. I've used water from them liberally since then, watering CPs and garden plants at will. They continue to fill up and overfill. I drained them a few times since then, and they've filled up again in a few days.

I thought 110 gallon rain barrels wouldn't be enough. I probably should have done the math in advance though. If we average 45 inches a year (https://external-preview.redd.it/PnUwaY ... bba8ae158d), on 700 square feet of roof I'm collecting 18,900 gallons a year, or 363 gallons a week on average. Or put another way, 1/4" of rain will fill the barrels.

Wish I could share . . .
:shock: Looks like someone's not gonna run out of water anytime soon. :) We only get an average of 7.69 inches of rain each year (usually less when there are droughts) compared to your 45 inches. :?
Last edited by TrapsAndDews on Sat May 28, 2022 6:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
By oval
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Joined:  Thu Jul 19, 2018 8:36 pm
#412438
Supercazzola wrote:These are what my water company says… so what’s considered low ?
For comparison, here's mine from across the state in Lakeland.
Attachments:
Screenshot.png
Screenshot.png (136.91 KiB) Viewed 274 times
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By specialkayme
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#412459
TrapsAndDews wrote: Fri May 27, 2022 4:01 pm :shock: Looks like someone's not gonna run out of water anytime soon. :) We only get an average of 7.69 inches of rain each year (usually less when there are droughts) compared to your 45 inches. :?
Well, even if you got 7 inches of rain in a year, 700 square feet of roof surface will collect 2,940 gallons of rain water. Or 56 gallons a week on average (if the rain was evenly distributed over the course of the year, which obviously it isn't).

I'd be willing to bet your roof surface is more than 700 square feet though, as the average in the US is 1700 (https://askinglot.com/how-many-square-f ... house-roof). So if you had 7 inches of rain a year and you collected off the entire roof, you'd get 7,140 gallons, or 137 gallons a week on average.

Obviously 45 inches a year puts me in a significantly better position. But I probably only need about 1 inch of rain a year to water all of my plants (26 indoor nepenthes, a few dozen outdoor VFTs and sarracineas, and some houseplants), if push came to shove (as it would give me about a gallon a day). More would be better, obviously, and 1 inch wouldn't be enough to water my garden. But still, if I really only need 1 inch a year, whether I get 4, 12, or 90, the extra just goes down the drain (or back to the water table).
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By DragonsEye
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Joined:  Sat Oct 01, 2016 1:22 pm
#412492
Intheswamp wrote: Thu May 26, 2022 11:33 pmI don't know what type of apartment complex you live in, or whether you know the neighbors, but I wonder if you could work out something with a neighbor on the west side so that when it rained you could collect rainwater there. Shoot, maybe scout around and find a building somewhere with an exposed gutter drain and stick a 5-gallon bucket there during a rainy day. I'd definitely want to use a TDS meter, but a covert Seal Team Six operation might produce some rainwater for you. :mrgreen:
All the apts in my building have their balconies on the east side,unfortunately. Also, seems that getting to know the neighbors in apts situations just doesn't really happen.

As far as finding a gutter spout, while that might be doable, don't know that I want to go schlepping a 5 gal water bucket up 3 flights of stairs. :D
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